Australia's first dog-sharing website has made having a part-time pooch possible with the launch of a free borrowing feature which connects the "desperate and dog-less" with dog owners to "dog share."
Those longing for puppy love can get their pet-fix by providing walks or dog sitting for time-poor dog owners in their local area. No money exchanges hands, simply the companionship of a new best friend.
Dogshare was initially launched to connect like-minded and caring dog owners with one another to assist in the daily care of their respective pets, the site is now open to any pup aficionado. Time-poor dog owners now have an even larger network of free doggy day (or night) carers, looking to share the unconditional love (and responsibility) of their canine companion.
The benefits of having a dog in your life go further than on demand furry snuggles, according to a 2015 Harvard Medical School report called "Get Healthy, Get a Dog", which found that people who have dogs in their lives are healthier overall. Not only are they more physically active, but they've also been seen to have better cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and lower levels of stress.
But despite this, not everyone in Australia is in the position to own a dog, says Dogshare founder Jessica Thomas, a busy working mum to two young children and Duke, an exuberant German Shorthaired Pointer. "Lack of space, time constraints, and limited finances are enough to interfere with fulltime dog ownership but are easy obstacles to overcome in short term care," she said.
Thomas, who founded Dogshare exclusively for dog owners in 2015, chose to add the dog borrowing feature in response to countless emails she received from non-dog owners interested in Dogshare and willing to offer non-reciprocal care at no charge.
"I found that there are so many people out there who genuinely love dogs and have experience caring for them, but are unable to commit to owning one for a variety of reasons," said Jess. "And with so much love to give, I really wanted to offer these people the opportunity to care for a dog, at least some of the time."
According to Thomas, the site works much like online dating. Simple to use, borrowers create a profile about themselves and their prior dog experience and indicate the services they're happy to provide. Borrowers can offer to cover dog walking, overnight or vacation stays, assist with dog appointments or simply check in on the dog while its owners are at work.
"Borrower profiles are then made available to Dogshare’s dog-owning community who can connect with suitable 'matches' and arrange a local park meet-up," explains Jess. "Everyone can test the chemistry and see whether the relationship has legs. Pardon the pun."
If it does, says Thomas, everybody wins. "The borrower gets access to a dog and all the benefits that go with it, while the owner has someone to love and care for their pet when they can't."